Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2016, Santa Barbara$26.00
The blend is from four well-farmed vineyards: Bien Nacido, Sierra Madre, Los Alamos and Rancho Vinedo. Au Bon Climat has been making balanced, food friendly Chardonnays since 1982. Even in the early 2000s when ripe, oaky Chardonnays were all the rage, Au Bon Climat stuck to a more subtle and refined style, with minerality and intensity. The 2016 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a beautiful example of the Au Bon Climat style. The flinty, stony aromas stand out while in the background is a hard spice note from surlee barrel aging. There are notes of lemon-lime and soft vanilla. With the first taste it is irresistible. This is one of those wines that invites the consumer to have another glass. At this young age, this wine would be perfect with shellfish or poultry. It will improve for at least 10 years and as it evolves, try this wine with Chanterelle mushroom pasta and be amazed.
Banshee Chardonnay 2016$28.00
The 2016 vintage officially was the last of the drought vintages that began in 2012. While they were all marked by long hot summers and early harvests, both ’15 and ’16 featured lower yields than the preceding years. The upside to low moderate yields is that the grapes that were there picked up added levels of intensity and depth. This vintage was sourced from a variety of vineyards in the Sonoma Coast. These vineyards tended to deliver fully developed flavors at relatively high natural acidity, giving remarkable length and verve. This wine leans towards orchard fruit showing both apple and pear but also hints of tropical fruits and vanilla bean. In the mouth the wine is moderate weight but packs extraordinary depth of flavor, echoing the aroma with fuji apple, meyer lemon, sage and vanilla panna cotta. The finish is all energy with mouthwatering citrus notes.
Hartford Court Chardonnay 2016, Russian River Valley, CA$34.00
The Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2016 is sourced from sustainably farmed, mostly old-vine, estate and “grower owned” Russian River Valley vineyards. Although this Chardonnay is elegant, it also has a medium to full bodied mid-palate and is partially defined by the crisp acidity and subtle quinine and crystallized ginger notes in the finish. Gravenstein apple, exotic citrus and floral notes highlight both the aromatic flavor profiles and complement the bright textural elements that make this a delicious Chardonnay!
It’s a Dog’s Life$40.00
This 2015 Mutt Lynch Zinfandel is beautifully balanced and has all the flavor characteristics of a “best in show” winner. Think cherry and spice and everything nice. It's immediately drinkable and oh so delicious. Be prepared though, once you introduce yourself, your pack is sure to expand to make room for this “mbf.”
2014 “mbf” Chardonnay —sophisticated and delicious, elegant and balanced. A little more fruit-forward than previous vintages and with declicious flavors of lemon and green apple, Brenda has once again let the fruit shine through using 50% stainless steel and 50% new French oak barrel fermentation.
Dog lovers will be happy to know a portion of all sales goes to Dog rescues and shelters.
L’Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2016$29.00
Some of the best Chardonnays in Washington State are grown in the slightly cooler growing conditions of the Yakima Valley and in the northern latitudes of the Columbia Valley. The Schmitt and Oasis Vineyards (Yakima Valley) provide nice tropical fruit while Evergreen Vineyard (latitude 47 on the Columbia River) contributes crisp acidity and minerality. This beautifully expressive Chardonnay offers an enticing mix of apple, nutmeg and crème brulee with old world characters of flint and slate. The rich structure of this wine is elegantly balanced with texture and minerality, adding complexity on the lingering finish.
La Chertosa Reserve Chardonnay 2016$25.00
La Chertosa Reserve Chardonnay is created from vines located on three different sites with three different clones, on the Wildwood Vineyards in North Eastern Sonoma Valley. The reason for this is to develop layers of flavor due to the site and clonal variation. The vintners select vineyard sites with red soil because the complexities of red soil create a full mouth-feel and depth. The Sonoma Valley provides the perfect growing conditions for Chardonnay grapes. The cool climate extends the growing season, allowing them to hang on the vine longer and mature slowly with optimum richness of character. A warm year and exceptional red soil produced this delicious Chardonnay from the Wildwood Vineyards in Northern Sonoma Valley. The finished wine is a brilliant gold color, full body and a complex layer of varietal flavors well-balanced to the toasty oak character. A long, smooth finish makes this a wine to thoroughly enjoy with food. Only 775 cases produced.
Melville Vineyards Chardonnay, Verna’s Vineyard 2013$25.00
This wine is 100% from Verna’s Vineyard in Los Alamos and is a combination of clones 4, 76, 95, 96 and selections Mount Eden and Hudson. Like their Sta. Rita Hills vineyard, Verna’s Vineyard also endures very windy conditions and is planted on extremely sandy and porous soils. Pale gold in color, with aromatics of toasted almond, apricot, grilled lemon and
mandarin orange creamsicle coming forward initially. Secondary notes of fresh thyme, cheese rind and dried apricot also drift in the background. Oily and tender on the palate, with a streak of vibrant acidity that maintains the wine’s focus and drive.
Mer Soleil Silver 2015$25.00
We believe that the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation in Monterey County is one of the best appellations in the world for producing Chardonnay. This region benefits from cool morning fog and afternoon breezes that result in a long growing season, producing intense fruit flavors balanced with vibrant acidity. Mer Soleil Silver 2015 is a pure, clean expression of estate-grown Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. A pale yellow hue, the wine is well balanced with great structure. Bright minerality, pink grapefruit and key lime characters shine through on the nose, followed by lemon zest and stone-fruit. The mid-palate displays intriguing notes of lemon meringue, quince and citrus, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish. The ceramic bottle reflects the small cement fermentation vessels that they use to give the wine its fully rounded mouthfeel. The higher acidity in this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a wide array of food, particularly salads, grilled seafood, tomato-based dishes and fresh oysters.
Monthelie Blanc Cuvee Miss Armande 2015$38.00
Wedged between Volnay and Meursault, Monthelie produces vastly more red than white, making the 201 Chardonnay that much more unique and impressive: It is close to Meursault in both place of origin and style, showing serious power, perfume, and classic structure. Adding to the already considerable charm of this wine is its fantastic backstory. The name “Cuvée Miss Armande” refers (and pays tribute) to Armande Douhairet, who for many years helmed this family domaine. She had no heirs, and took the extraordinary step of legally adopting André Porcheret—a grown man and well-known Burgundy winemaking figure to boot—so that she could leave the domaine to him (she passed away in 2004).
In the glass, the 2014 “Cuvée Miss Armande” is a deep, reflective yellow-gold with slight hints of green at the rim. The nose is an assertive mix of Asian pear, apple blossoms, white flowers and Meyer lemon followed by notes of toasted hazelnut, white mushroom, beeswax, and even a hint of drawn butter (calling classic Meursault to mind). There’s a level of richness and accessibility that is perfectly framed by acidity, suggesting many years of positive evolution ahead. We’re intrigued to see what this wine becomes after 3-5 years more cellaring; my bet it that it will outperform lots of much-more-expensive competition. Enjoy this—it’s a truly fabulous Burgundy bargain!
Mutt Lynch “Man’s Best Friend” MBF Chardonnay 2014$21.00
2014 “mbf” Chardonnay — sophisticated and delicious, elegant and balanced. A little more fruit-forward than previous vintages and with delicious flavors of lemon and green apple, Brenda has once again let the fruit shine through. In this third vintage of mbf Chardonnay, Brenda used 50% stainless steel and 50% new French oak barrel fermentation. Great with seafood!
Neyers Vineyard Chardonnay 2016, Carneros, Sonoma County, California, USA$36.00
The 2016 vintage was great for Chardonnay, giving us
long, sunny days with mild temperatures that retained
the fruit’s natural acidity. Our fermentation was carried
out in a mixture of new and used French oak barrels
using native wild yeast, and periodically lees stirring. The
finished wine is rich and creamy with a charming
butterscotch component, and a trace of grilled bread in